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J Lipid Res. 2009 Dec;50(12):2340-57. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R900012-JLR200. Epub 2009 Jun 4.

Bile acid transporters.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Pathology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


In liver and intestine, transporters play a critical role in maintaining the enterohepatic circulation and bile acid homeostasis. Over the past two decades, there has been significant progress toward identifying the individual membrane transporters and unraveling their complex regulation. In the liver, bile acids are efficiently transported across the sinusoidal membrane by the Na(+) taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide with assistance by members of the organic anion transporting polypeptide family. The bile acids are then secreted in an ATP-dependent fashion across the canalicular membrane by the bile salt export pump. Following their movement with bile into the lumen of the small intestine, bile acids are almost quantitatively reclaimed in the ileum by the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter. The bile acids are shuttled across the enterocyte to the basolateral membrane and effluxed into the portal circulation by the recently indentified heteromeric organic solute transporter, OSTalpha-OSTbeta. In addition to the hepatocyte and enterocyte, subgroups of these bile acid transporters are expressed by the biliary, renal, and colonic epithelium where they contribute to maintaining bile acid homeostasis and play important cytoprotective roles. This article will review our current understanding of the physiological role and regulation of these important carriers.

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